This tiny corner of Europe – more like a county then a country – is romantic, traditional, vibrant and quite exceptionally rich. With a population of less than half a million people, a spattering of French and German in the streets, a modernity bought in by prominence in international banking, and dramatic natural sites, it might be petite, but it’s far from dull.
Luxembourg City – not only the capital, but also the only city of any real note – is a striking hillside town where pointed towers pierce the skyline and cobbled streets drift through the ancient architecture, oozing fairy tale romance. The aged, overhanging promenade is touted as ‘Europe’s most beautiful balcony’, and – with views over most of the city – would make a perfect candlelit scene in a Beauty and the Beast remake. You can feed each other snails and Champagne whilst staring at the old-world turrets and temples, or scramble across picturesque bridges and make your way into the lush green hills. In the summer, Luxembourg City even hosts open air cinema screenings alongside the al fresco dining, where you might just overhear international businessmen discussing their substantial new tax breaks.
Considering its pint-sized dimensions, Luxembourg has an impressive amount to offer besides its main city, too. The towns of Grund and Esch sur Sure, for example, each consist of pastel houses bending along the edges of a peaceful countryside river bend, and wow visitors with their tiny coffee shops serving drinks on delicate old-world china. Then there are the hiking routes around rocky ‘little Switzerland’ - the district of Mullerthal – and the glittering lights glancing off the surreal Castle of Vianden. Moselle Valley’s wineries and their uniquely local wines are another major draw, not to mention the expansive tasting sessions that accompany the vineyard tours.
Wedged between France, Germany and Belgium, Luxembourg is often overlooked as a European destination. It is sometimes frighteningly expensive, but get past the cash flow problems and you’ll meet with a country so quaint and tinged with aging romance that you’ll struggle to leave. Even when parting would only take half an hour.